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Braley Blasts Wasteful Spending at Center of GSA Scandal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:46

House panel investigates $800,000 Las Vegas conference

 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today strongly criticized the US General Services Administration (GSA) for allowing the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars in connection with a conference held at a luxury Las Vegas casino in 2010.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing this afternoon to investigate the scandal.  Braley is a member of the committee.

 

In 2007, Braley led questioning of another GSA employee accused of wrongdoing who was called to testify before Congress.  GSA Administrator Lurita Doan was ultimately forced to resign for improperly holding political briefings on federal property.

 

“The GSA won’t need a mind reader to know my feelings about their weekend in Vegas: it was an utter and complete waste of taxpayer dollars,” Braley said.  “It’s unconscionable that while taxpayers are struggling through a recession, a federal agency is wasting their money on fancy catered meals and luxury hotels in Las Vegas.  Something’s got to change – and every person responsible for this outrageous behavior needs to be held fully accountable.”

 

On April 2nd, the GSA Inspector General issued a report highlighting “excessive, wasteful, and…impermissible” spending in connection with a regional conference held at the M Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2010.  The report found that costs for the conference exceeded $800,000, including $75,000 paid for a bicycle-building project, excessive spending ($146,000) on meals, and over $136,000 in planning costs for the conference, including hotel stays at the Ritz Carlton Las Vegas.

 

The report prompted GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign.

 

Other improper spending at the conference included a clown, a mind reader, and a comedian.

 

The GSA Inspector General has asked the Department of Justice to consider criminal charges against GSA employee and event organizer Jeffrey E. Neely.  Neely was subpoenaed to testify before the Oversight Committee today.

 

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Governor Quinn Urges Illinoisans to Volunteer Time and Talents during National Volunteer Week PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:41

Serve.Illinois.gov Connects Volunteers with Opportunities

Across the State

SPRINGFIELD – Monday, April 16, 2012.  Governor Pat Quinn today joined the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Serve Illinois Commission in encouraging Illinoisans to give back to their communities by volunteering during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, 2012.  Those who are interested in volunteering can find a resourceful search portal that connects them to over 100,000 volunteer opportunities throughout Illinois by visiting Serve.Illinois.gov.

 

“Service to others is the rent we pay for our place on earth,” Governor Quinn said. “National Volunteer Week is the perfect opportunity to give back, set a great example for others and work together to strengthen our communities.”

 

According to the Volunteering in America Report, last year nearly 2.8 million Illinoisans gave back through churches, non-profits, businesses, little leagues, scout troops and countless other organizations.  They volunteered 378.5 million hours, or about 34.8 hours per person.  This service equates to over $8.4 billion in economic impact.  Along with time, a majority of Illinoisans gave at least $25 to a local charity.

 

"We believe that service is one of our State's greatest resources,” Scott McFarland, deputy director of the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, said. “We envision an Illinois where everyone recognizes their ability and responsibility to help strengthen their communities by volunteering."

 

Research shows that communities with higher rates of volunteering see decreased crime, improved governmental services and higher educational achievement among other things.  In addition, evidence supports the idea that those who engage in their communities on a regular basis live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

 

The Serve.Illinois.gov website is a project of DHS and the Serve Illinois Commission: "Building Stronger Communities Through Service.”  More information and volunteer opportunities can be found at Serve.Illinois.gov.

 

 

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Region 6 Homeland Security Board and Safeguard Iowa Partnership Announce Week 11 of “20 Weeks to Preparedness Program” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ross E. Bergen   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:22
Release Date: April 23, 2012
Release Number: 12

Welcome to Week 11 of the 20 Weeks to Preparedness Program brought to you by the Region 6 Homeland
Security Board and Safeguard Iowa Partnership. This program will help to better prepare you and your family,
a little at a time, over a 20 week period. Each week new preparedness information will be shared including a
list of items to gather or purchase for your disaster supply kit. Sign up at www.safeguardiowa.org/subscribe-to-
be-prepared to receive weekly reminders and announcements related to the 20 Weeks to Preparedness program.

Use this program to gather items for your kit in small steps over a five month period. Remember to change
and replace perishable items by the expiration date. Purchasing the food suggested by this program would last
approximately 3-5 days.

Place in storage bin:

One gallon of water per person per day
Paper, pen, pencil, and scissors
Sunscreen
Protein bars

Personalized Item (if applicable):

Litter pan

To do:

Determine signal with family and friends to be used to communicate safety.

Additional assistance is available by contacting your local Emergency Management Coordinator at
563-484-3050 or visiting their website at www.iascema.com. Visit Safeguard Iowa Partnership at
www.safeguardiowa.org, on twitter @safeguardiowa or Facebook at www.facebook.com/safeguardiowa.

The Region 6 Homeland Security Board is comprised of fourteen counties in eastern Iowa that coordinate homeland security planning,
training, exercise, response, and recovery. The counties included are Benton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton,
Delaware, Dubuque, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Scott.

The Safeguard Iowa Partnership is a voluntary coalition of the state's business and government leaders, who share a commitment to
working together to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters in Iowa.

 
Lt. Gov. Simon to release tax returns PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Friday, 13 April 2012 14:58

CARBONDALE – In advance of Tax Day, Lt. Governor Simon will fulfill her promise to release her annual tax returns and financial statements from her senior staff. Simon says making the information public empowers taxpayers to learn if she or her staff hold any conflicts of interest. This is the second consecutive year the Lt. Governor and her staff will make the disclosures.

 

TIME: 10 a.m. media availability

DATE: Friday, April 13

PLACE: Lt. Governor’s office, IDOT District 9 headquarters, 2801 Murphysboro Road, Carbondale

 

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Braley Touts Effort to Renew and Expand Adoption Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 13 April 2012 12:45

Braley visits Davenport and Dubuque to discuss benefits of tax credit for families and kids

 

Waterloo, IA – At events in Davenport and Dubuque today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) discussed an effort he’s launching to renew and expand a tax credit for families that choose to adopt children.

When Congress returns to session next week, Braley will introduce the Making Adoption Affordable Act, a bill that will permanently expand the adoption tax credit to $13,360 and make it refundable -- allowing more families to take full advantage of it.  Unless Congress acts, the current adoption tax credit of $12,360 will expire at the end of the year.

“Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most caring decisions a couple can make,” Braley said.  “Unfortunately, it’s a decision also carries significant financial costs with it.  This can be a barrier for many couples.

 

“The adoption tax credit is a small investment that provides a huge return: getting more children into loving homes and out of the costly foster care system.

 

“When a policy puts more kids in good families and also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, renewing it should be a no-brainer.  Expanding the adoption tax credit makes even more sense and will help even more parents and children.”

 

Braley discussed the renewal and expansion of the tax credits at events today at Bethany for Children and Families in Davenport and Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque.

The federal government partners with states to care for orphaned children.  Adoption is preferable to foster care not only because it results in better outcomes for children, but because it is far less costly for taxpayers.  As of 2010, foster care costs to taxpayers averaged $47,000 per child, per year.

The adoption tax credit is a proven incentive to promote adoptions.  Before its last expansion in 1998, the tax credit was claimed after only 50,400 adoptions.  After expansion, in 2004, the tax credit was claimed in nearly 87,000 adoptions, representing a nearly 50 percent increase.

 

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